Bonito is surrounded by grottos, forests, rivers, and wildlife sanctuaries, most located on private fazendas, but which can be visited by guided tours from Bonito. Most are half-day or full-day trips. Besides hiking, sports include horseback riding, climbing, rappelling, white-water rafting, and the activity that is synonymous with Bonito: “floating.”
Independent-minded adventure-sports enthusiasts will probably chafe at all the rules and the guidance of monitors; however, for kids, elderly travelers, and more reticent or unathletic types, Bonito provides an ideal and safe environment to indulge in such diversions.
Gruta do Lago Azul
One of Bonito’s most popular “must-see” attractions, the Gruta do Lago Azul (Rodovia Três Morros Km 20, R$25) is a deep cavern (accessed by precarious stairs) adorned with stalactites and stalagmites at the bottom of which is an impossibly blue lagoon. It turns a piercing turquoise when hit by the sun’s rays, which happens December–January 8:30–9:30 a.m.
Although the whole tour takes an hour, you only get to gaze at the lake itself for 15 minutes before the next group of tourists arrives, sending you back up to the surface.
Buraco das Araras
When a cattle farmer purchased the Fazenda Alegre, he wasn’t pleased to find a giant buraco (hole) sitting in the midst of his pasture. The hole, with a lake at the bottom, has a diameter of 500 meters (1,640 feet) and a depth of 100 meters (328 feet). However, he soon cheered up upon discovering that the Buraco das Araras (BR-267 Km 58, tel. 67/9995-2586, 7:30 a.m.–5 p.m. daily) was a favorite roosting spot for over 40 exotic bird species, among them the gaudily colored red macaw.
Now an ecological refuge, the Buraco can be visited with an excursion (the tour lasts 40 minutes).
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition